It dawned on me last week that one of the things that bring me great JOY is that i once again feel--really feel--the Christmas Spirit, now that i am no longer employed. way-back-when...i was a stay at home mom (called housewife in those days), i used to LOVE the preparations leading up to Christmas day! there was trips up and down the attic stairs getting all the boxes and bags, the decorating, the shopping, the baking, the wrapping, the church programs, writing out cards, the mailbox filled with envelopes that didn't contain bills---ALL of it---kit 'n'kaboodle (whatever that means)!
then i started working part time outside our home. at first i noticed no difference, since i worked for (the same) elementary school that my children attended. it continued to be a festive and meaningful season of celebration. (schools in those days could still celebrate Christmas and not be forced into secular snowmen and rudolphs only. we actually had Christmas trees and NOT "holiday trees," and no one was offended by the greeting: Merry Christmas.)
when my children were grown and i started working full time in an office, i usually only had Christmas day off; not the day before, on Christmas Eve, and mostly not the day after, either. it really made my festive mood take a plunge. i still reflected on the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and the significance of His life, death and RESURRECTION, to bring us to God. but it only became a DAY, no longer a SEASON. it was shortened, and my JOY shortened as well. the preparations were no longer fun because it was a chore to get all the decorations up, shopping after a long tiring day at work; wrapping lost all creativity--and all baking was given up. what i DID bake, burnt and went to the dog (instead of buying those charcoal bones in the pet store.) i'd rush home, plug in the lights on the tree, but after dinner and dishes, there was little time leftover to sit and gaze and relax and enjoy. everything was rush, rush, rush; get-it-done-now and quickly move on to the next chore.
this Christmas is my FIRST as a retiree! or---i should say: re-LIFE-ee. and i felt all the JOY of the SEASON gush back in last week! it's a marvelous feeling! i plug in the tree lights now, before it is even dusk, and can thoroughly enjoy the beauty! i go outdoors and look at our home all lit up and feel all Christmas-sy. i enjoy planning my shopping trips and it's not crowded when i go. and today? today--i did something enjoyable that i have not had time to do in many years: i actually wrote out notes in Christmas cards and have them all ready to mail! JOY to the world! the Christmas music has been playing all day every day, and i sing loudly, if not wonderfully, and flit around like a child.
It's CHRISTMAS!! i wish you and your's JOY throughout.